Right now we are at war. It’s not in our back yard so it’s easy to forget. Even when we as Navy families talk about our sailor’s deployments, unless they are on land fighting, it’s still easy to forget that they are deploying during war times.
That was never made clearer to me than this week.
North Korea has declared itself to be in a state of war with South Korea and her allies- us. While this is most likely political posturing (a way for N.Korea to demand and negotiate that the latest round of sanctions against them be lifted) it still leads us all to be on the highest level of alert. And that level of alert can be discomforting.
We as military families know the cost of war. We’ve seen it for the last 10 years now. And even if time does march on and some semblance of normality has kicked in to the fact that war isn’t the first thing on our minds, that knowledge is still there. It still blinks bright read and sounds the sirens of “Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.”
So when another possibility of war rears its head, we get anxious. We’ve lived the Iraq war. We’ve lived the Afghanistan war. We’ve adapted to those war routines and in a sense normalized them. But, this is different. This is a new possibility of war or perhaps it’s a return to war of which extreme cost we vividly remember.
This possibility is filled with the same unknowing as the first days of Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s filled with the same knowing of what happened the last time a war was carried out there. And it’s filled with the same dread that our sailor and his or her shipmates are the ones on the short list to go.
We internalize the risks. We clam up out of necessity and revert to our adages (Lose lips, sink ships). We break down to each other when the orders come. And they have come.
Popeye’s division has been out of boot camp for at least 10 months. Most have finished their A-school and have permanently (as permanently as on can in the military) joined their stations. They are full-fledged members of the fleet and are considered experienced enough to handle the job at hand. This new possibility of returning to yet another war is squarely on their shoulders. They know the risks. We know the risks. None of us were ignorant on that account. While it still is not easy and a little hard to accept, they are all still vigilant and ready to respond to the drums of war. -and so are we.